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Australian Cigarette Packs Soon to Have Plain Packaging

By High Flyer, Apr 29, 2010 | Updated: Apr 29, 2010 | | |
  1. High Flyer
    At last, truth in cigarette advertising

    From January 2012, all cigarettes will be sold in plain packages. No logos, no shiny finishes, no bright colours, no pretty pictures. Instead of reassuring and persuasive brand imagery, graphic health warnings will dominate the pack. The tobacco industry has long acknowledged the huge importance that packaging has within the marketing mix. In 1995, a tobacco industry executive summed it up perfectly, ". . . if you smoke, a cigarette pack is one of the few things you use regularly that makes a statement about you. A cigarette pack is the only thing you take out of your pocket 20 times a day and lay out for everyone to see. That's a lot different than buying your soap powder in generic packaging."

    Plain packaging is nothing short of a triumph for health promotion and chronic disease prevention. In studies with young people, plain packs were perceived as dull and boring, cheap-looking and reduced the flair and appeal associated with smoking. Conversely, the industry has invested heavily in researching and designing packages that serve to increase the appeal of smoking. In the industry's own words, packs aimed at younger women should be "slick, sleek, flashy, glittery, shiny, silky, and bold". A brown box featuring a diseased lung can hardly be seen as fitting this glamorous description.

    Investment firm Citigroup has already issued a response on Australia's move to implement plain packaging, viewing it as the "biggest regulatory threat to the industry, as packaging is the most important way tobacco companies have to communicate with the consumer and differentiate their products". This is a ringing endorsement that plain packaging is a public health winner.

    The tobacco industry and their think-tank allies will argue that plain packaging is in violation of intellectual property rights and an unfair acquisition of valuable trademarks. While it is true that plain packaging legislation would regulate the use of tobacco trademarks, the federal government would not be acquiring the exclusive use of these trademarks or banning tobacco companies from using these trademarks in other communications.

    Given the shaky ground the industry's legal arguments are based on, they will next claim that plain packaging will increase smuggling, cause an explosive rise in black market cigarettes and reduce the government's tax take from tobacco. While there is no evidence that Australia has a significant tobacco black market, a more rational response is to allocate resources to enforce existing anti-smuggling laws. In reality, plain packaging will only affect tobacco industry profitability.

    No doubt hardened smokers will scoff at the notion that plain packaging could possibly influence their decision to either quit or to keep smoking. But this is certainly not the case for younger, new smokers. Just as designer clothing, fashion accessories and fast cars serve as cues to style, status and character so too can a cigarette pack reinforce social identity. Under these new packaging laws cigarette packs will only serve to signify addiction, disease, and death. Finally, there will be some truth in cigarette advertising.

    April 29, 2010 - 11:35AM

    Becky Freeman is a research officer and Simon Chapman is a professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney.

    Link to the full article: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/po...cigarette-advertising-20100429-ttkh.html#poll

    Pardon my language, but I think this is fucking stupid. Why are bottles of alcohol still allowed to have flashy designs? I'm lucky I buy my sticks online; it's worth the duty now.


  1. mickey_bee
    Surely there must be some brand-specific logos on the packs, otherwise how will you know whether you're buyin marlboro's or benson&hedges?

    In the UK the packs are just like they always were, except about a 1/3 to 1/2 of each side is taken up with health warnings and pictures of diseased lungs, this guy with a terrible teenage moustache, with what appears to be a snake around his neck(but am supposing is meant to be a tumour), ................and the worst of all, a picture of a needle, but with a cigarette in the barrel instead of heroin.........laughable.
  2. Paradoxical Frog

    Personally I think the aging of the skin warning is the best one - Oh no! Old hands!! :p

    I'm guessing it'll be plain packaging with the brand name written on in plain black font instead of the usual logos? I'm not entirely following the logic of this anyway. I know a lot of smokers, and they choose their brand by which ones they feel taste the best or feel the best for them, and sometimes by their strength Not by how pretty or masculine the packaging is.. I roll my cigarettes with Drum Gold because I prefer the taste of that tobacco over anything else, not because I like the pretty yellow packaging and the fact that it has "Gold" in the title..

    Unless Australian brands are more like the cigarettes available in Europe? I had a friend bring me a pack of menthol Vogue from Hungary and those were definitely marketed towards women. Pretty packaging and long thin white cigarettes. The light ones even came with pink patterns on the box! But for me the novelty was the fact that they tasted like nice clean (well cleaner) roll-ups rather than the horrific chemically fags we get here in the UK... :s
  3. mickey_bee
    LOL..........The first time swim saw 'Vogues' abroad he thought they were some sort of tampon.......that's how effeminate the design was.:crazy

    But yeah, swim too smokes roll-ups, either of golden virginia, or cutters choice mainly, because a) they're cheaper, and b) he likes the taste of them! He doesn't care about the packaging!
  4. kailey_elise
    Thank you for posting this.

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    I totally ripped this off of TerrapinzFlyer, but I've always wanted to be a helpful nerd and post it in reply to a news post. *giggle*

    While I agree most smokers stick with their brand because they like the flavor/burn/price/nicotine content, I have to wonder why people INITIALLY pick a brand to try.

    I initially smoked what my parents smoked, because I nicked the cigarettes from them and that's what I had been used to. When I started buying my own, I got a generic brand, because they were $.98 back then, and I only made $15-20 a week from my paper route. ;)

    Later on in my teen years, I smoked a brand that I thought people wouldn't bum from me @ school. Heh. After that, I was broke & without a job again, so I smoked what my boyfriend smoked; when I started working again, I continued to buy that brand, because by then I was used to it, plus it often went on sale, buy one pack get one free. I briefly switched to a "healther, natural cigarette", but eventually went back.

    Now I'm vaporizing my nicotine for the most part, so with luck I'll soon be leaving Big Tobacco behind anyway.

    However, in school, there was a girl who smoked Capri cigarettes when she bought cigarettes, because she loved the ads - she had a lot of them taped up to her wall, even.

  5. Sven99
    The issue is less getting current smokers to stop and more discouraging new smokers. The simple fact of the matter is that cigarette packets look cool.

    Just think back to when you had your first cigarette. Now imagine that when you were offered it, it didn't come out of a gold B+H packet, or a red marlboro carton, but a plain grey pack that made it look dull and functional, more like discount brand aspirin, but covered in health warnings.

    Would that have made you think twice? It certainly would my swimmer. I completely support this move and think it needs to be extended. The very fact that the tobacco companies are against it is that they know it'll hurt their sales. I'm all in favour of a swimmer's choice to light up, but they shouldn't have their culture, their friends and a few multi-billion dollar corporations breathing down their necks to encourage them.
  6. EscapeDummy

    Not only dull and functional, but with a giant picture of a diseased lung on the front! Swim can honestly say he probably would have never started smoking if his friends were offering him cigs from packs like the one in the article picture.
  7. Knifey
    it will have the name of it written like in the picture in the first post?
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